Increase in gastro cases

HEALTH OFFICIALS are reporting an increase in gastrointestinal illnesses in Barbados.

As a result, they are urging the public to employ proper hand hygiene methods, such as washing their hands regularly and to vet food handlers before purchasing from them.

The uptick in cases in people older than five years moved from 27 in the week prior to April 27, to 34 at the end of that week. Previously, there were only 11 cases recorded. The alert level for this age group, at this time of the year, is less than six cases.

In children under five, cases have moved from two to eight for the week ending April 27.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness reported that for the subset of cases tested, food-borne pathogens had been identified (bacterial and viral) but no single source or event was linked to the majority of cases.

The public has been advised to practise good hand hygiene which is the most effective way of reducing the transmission of many bacterial and viral illnesses.

This includes washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them with disposable tissue. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is recommended.

People purchasing items to eat should ensure that sellers conduct appropriate food handling practices, such as protecting food from flies and other vectors; using suitable utensils to touch food; and maintaining hot or cold items at the correct temperatures.


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